|Jantel Lavender came up just short of her fifth double-double of the season, ending the night for Famila Schio with 19 points and nine rebounds|
Famila Schio chose the perfect time to get back to winning ways as they kept their composure at the clutch, riding to a 69-63 victory against Rivas Ecopolis in their first meeting of the EuroLeague Women play-offs.
Heading into the game with just one success in their last five games, Schio were made to fight all the way by a Rivas team who did a great job on the glass, but ultimately came up short.
Crucial to the success was the free-throw shooting of Schio, since the Italian side were a perfect eleven-of-eleven from the line, and this was always going to be important in a tight game which wasn't decided until the closing minutes.
Shortly before the break, it had looked like any prospect of a win for Rivas was in danger of ebbing away completely, when a basket by Belgian guard Kathy Wambe made it 36-24 to the home team.
However, the Spanish visitors rallied and claimed five of the last seven points in the half to get some momentum for when they re-emerged for the third quarter.
By early in the fourth period, Rivas were just a point behind at 51-50, although the good work of Jantel Lavender in the paint helped Schio moved six points clear at 59-53.
But again Rivas responded, this time the outstanding Oleksandra Kurasova dropping a three-ball with three minutes remaining to get her team back to within a point.
Unfortunately for Kurasova, who claimed 23 points and nine rebounds for the losing team, successive baskets by Lavender proved decisive as Schio eased away during the final two minutes.
Lavender had 19 points and nine rebounds to only just miss out on what would have been her fifth double-double of the season.
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Schio head coach Maurizio Lasi:
"It's true we won but nothing is decided. Now we have to do something great in Madrid against a tough team which is complete and, as everybody saw tonight, plays a very good basketball."
Schio player Raffaella Masciadri:
"So far, this game felt like the most important we played. We can do better, especially on the rebounds. But right now we're happy for this win and we know in Madrid we'll need to fight."
Rivas head coach Miguel Mendez:
"I want to congratulate Schio. We played a great match tonight but I know we can do better and we'll work to come back here to Schio."
Rivas player Oleksandra Kurasova:
"It was a tough game as we expected; playing in this arena is not easy for anybody. In this kind of match every ball is very important; now we've got two days to prepare the next game in Madrid."